Conducted by independent strategy consulting firm Esty Environmental Partners and WPP agencies Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn Schoen Berland, the survey aimed to identify emerging trends in consumer perception and buying habits related to ‘green’ products.
“Being seen as environmentally conscious continues to be an important brand attribute with all consumers; in fact, it ranks fourth behind 'good value,' 'trustworthy' and 'cares about customers,'" said Russ Meyer, chief strategy officer for Landor.
Cosmetics brands rank highly
Cosmetics and personal care brands scored highly when it came to consumers identifying ‘green’ brands from a pre-determined list, the survey showed, with the BodyShop coming top amongst UK participants, and Yves Rocher and Natura claiming the top spots amongst French and Brazilian respondents respectively.
"We believe cosmetics and personal care tend to do better than other categories because consumers are more concerned about the greenness of products that are in closer proximity to them physically," Meyer told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.
Although 75 percent of respondents in the US said buying products from green companies was important to them, and 35 percent proclaimed they will spend more on green products in the coming year, these percentages were down on 2009 levels, it was noted.
"While the economy has driven down the priority of green for consumers, we can expect that as the recovery continues, the importance of green will come roaring back” predicted Scott Siff, executive vice president of Penn Schoen Berland.
Dan Esty, chairman of Esty Environmental Partners added that communication is equally as important as developing green strategies.
"The message is that companies must not only develop environmental strategies to address their most important global impacts, but they also need to be able to connect with consumers in a compelling and relevant way on a market-by-market basis." he said.
Burt’s Bees comes out top in US
US respondents rated Burt’s Bees as the number one green brand, which the company’s CEO John Replogle described as ‘a real coup’.
“It has always been our mission to go beyond making earth-friendly natural products to truly live our values and embrace sustainability across our operations from our culture to our products,” he said in a statement.
According to Burt’s Bees, the company has decreased its energy usage by 15.3 percent over the last year, and has reduced its non-product water use by 5.5 percent compared to 2008.
In addition, the start of 2010 saw the eco-conscious brand begin to reclaim grey water for its manufacturing process to re-use in its cleaning processes and boiler and chiller systems. The company said this will save approximately 750,000 gallons of water a year.